THE ROYAL WELSH SHOW could lose more than £1 million if the Welsh Government shortens the school summer holiday in Wales by one week.
That’s the stark warning from the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) which is strongly opposed to a new plan to amend school term dates in Wales.
The RWAS is urging the public to respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation before the February 12 deadline at https://www.gov.wales/structure-school-year .
Under the proposal, schools would be open during the Royal Welsh Show, which traditionally takes place during the first week of children’s summer break.
The RWAS has raised the issue with Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles MS, and is collating evidence to support its objection.
The show, one of Wales’ major cultural festivals, is a highlight for many families and young people across Wales. Almost 250,000 people visit the largest agricultural event of its kind in Europe.
The show pumps more than £40 million into the rural economy and visitors spend around £10 million over the four days.
The RWAS says it’s not against the principle of modifying the school year but urges the Welsh Government to reconsider the dates. It wants to ensure that the show is always held during the school summer holiday.
“We are extremely concerned about the impact these changes will have, including taking away the ability for young people, families, teachers and school staff to attend the show, which represents a large proportion of our visitors,” said a spokesman.
“Thousands of children compete at the Royal Welsh Show each year, in both young farmer competitions and young handler and junior classes. The proposed change would remove the opportunity for them to compete at the show and to learn and showcase their skills.
“Preliminary calculations show that the change would lead to a loss of income in excess of £1 million from reduced gate sales, membership and camping revenue. The changes would also lead to reduced attendance, affecting the trade for our exhibitors and catering vendors, not to mention the wider economic impact on the several businesses who benefit from the event both regionally and nationally.”
The RWAS is also concerned the change would impact families, volunteers, the Welsh language and culture and the show’s park and ride service which uses school buses out of term time.